Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"Building an epigenetics database for breast cancer prevention research"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Spring 2013 - DURI
Research area(s):
epigenetics, cell biology, data mining, bioinformatics, pathology
Project Description:
There is increasing evidence that DNA methylation and histone modifications (referred to as epigenetic changes) in specific genes control breast cancer onset. However, there are a number of possible epigenetic changes the combination of which defers depending on the genes. Importantly, environmental factors such as stress, diet, or exercise influence epigenetic mechanisms and thus, gene transcription. This project is to establish a database on epigenetic modifications that target genes involved in breast cancer onset and link these to environmental factors. This database will be used for training purposes in primary prevention research and to expand the research tools on genes that control breast epithelial homeostasis and tumor development for scientists around the world.
Expected Student Contributions:
The intern will research repositories (e.g., ENCODE) with results from epigenetic analyses to identify the specific epigenetic modifications characteristic of changes in the expression of genes involved in breast cancer development. Reading research articles linked to the studies listed in the repositories will be an important aspect of the work. The intern will also research information on nutrients that influence epigenetic mechanisms and specific genes. S/He will work with members of the Purdue HUB for the data mining aspect of the work and to design and develop the database.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
the qualifications required by the DURI program and also knowledge in data mining.
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 3 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Lelievre, Sophie
basic medical sciences

Student Supervisor

Sophie Lelievre
Associate Professor

Cooperating Faculty

Joseph Irudayaraj
Agriculture and Biological Engineering/Agriculture
Amy Lossie
Animal Science/Agriculture